Yesterday while evaluating a printing issue with a customer’s color Lexmark laser printer, I managed to drop the black developer unit on the floor. It left a quarter-sized spot of purest blackness, then spread a gray cast over dinner-plate-sized area nearby when it bounced. Ack.
I looked up the best ways to clean up that sort of mess and found several sites that recommended dry cleaning solvent, which I did not have, followed (if needed) by water with dish detergent added. Messy procedures that would require me to go out and buy things. I was pretty sure there was no place in the city of Edina to buy dry cleaning solvent anyway.
I apologized profusely to the secretary whose office I had just sullied; she acted cool about it, but that was no consolation to me as I was well aware of what I had done. I called Lexmark to get replacements for the parts I had determined were bad, and as I stood there waiting for the tech to finish filling out forms (he was helpful, to be sure, but that sort of thing is never quick) I considered the mess I had made.
It was dry toner, after all, finely powdered plastic. A vacuum cleaner had already failed to remove it from the carpet, so the particles must have been entangled with the carpet fibers. Was there still a way to remove it dry?
Then I considered the can of compressed gas (“duster”) I had brought in with me to clean the printer inside. I sat down on the floor, phone pinned against my shoulder, and with one hand hovering curled behind the darkest spot I pointed the nozzle at the nearest edge and fired away.
A few sprays later, the toner was all (all!) out of the carpet; most was distributed on my guarding hand, which I cleaned up with a tissue. Elated (as you might imagine) I moved on to the larger, paler mess and did the same thing. I think I may have used up almost the whole can, but it was worth it.
So for anyone with a similar mess, before you get it wet, you might want to try my procedure. I make no guarantees, but I promise you it worked for me.